GODLEY, Texas — The doors to Godley City Hall are locked.
Signs on the doors read “This office is closed temporarily” and “Closed due to staffing shortage.”
“It's going on a week now and there's no plans to reopen because there's no meeting to hire the proper staff to reopen the city,” Godley resident Kayla Lain said.
As of right now, residents with water/sewer emergencies are encouraged to call Godley Police, who “will get a hold of public works,” according to the sign.
Godley Police also posted to its Facebook page, saying due to the closure of the municipal courts, "anyone issued a citation will be contacted by the Court Clerk once that position is staffed. Any citations issued WILL NOT go into warrant status. The Court Clerk will reach out to each individual that was issued a citation to give them time to get the citation taken care of.”
After talking to residents, Mayor Acy McGehee, and City Councilwoman Jennifer Thompson, describing what’s happening in Godley is complicated and layered.
To begin, Thompson told WFAA in a statement: “I have asked a lot of questions, which resorted in multiple people vacating their positions.”
Thompson can be heard asking questions at city council meetings, which are posted on YouTube.
Godley resident Teresa Cornelison, who has attended the city council meetings, said some of the questions Thompson asked were about financials and inventory.
“Things aren't right in City Hall,” Cornelison, who was married to current councilmember Roger Cornelison before divorcing in 2020, said.
Several city leaders, including the police chief, city administrator, and city attorney, have recently quit. McGehee confirmed the resignations to WFAA Wednesday.
The mayor declined to do an on-camera interview, but he told WFAA he has hired an interim city attorney.
Thompson and some residents said they aren’t happy with some of the mayor’s decisions and are calling for more transparency.
“There have been multiple decisions and decisions on (McGehee’s) part that has not included the city council, nor has there been communication,” Thompson said.
“He would not call a special meeting to get these positions filled,” Teresa Cornelison said.
Thompson told WFAA that she and councilmembers Michael Papenfuss and Roger Cornelison showed up for a meeting Friday. However, McGehee, Mayor Pro Tem Jan Whitehead, and Councilmember Maryann Matthews did not, she said. So since there wasn’t a quorum, no meeting could be held and no staffing decisions could be made.
WFAA reached out to all city councilmembers and is waiting to hear back from some. But Papenfuss sent WFAA the following statement:
"The doors to Godley City Hall have been closed for over a week now, even as the Mayor Pro Tem I do not have a key and must call our Police Department anytime I need in. I have had numerous calls, texts and messages asking about water bills, Certificates of Occupancy, defensive driving, making pleas on tickets, water leaks and many other issues over the past few weeks; if it is something that I can handle with our remaining staff I will do that but a lot of stuff gets forwarded to Mayor McGehee because he doesn’t allow me to have access at City Hall."
Papenfuss said the next scheduled city council meeting is scheduled for Feb.7, "at which time I will once again place on the agenda to hire interim staff so we can adequately serve the community we were elected by."
“It's sad because, you know, obviously, we love our city,” Scott Yarbrough, who is running for city council in the upcoming election, said. “I want to serve the people of the town. It's time that we take our town back. I want to be part of that.”